Council: Here Comes CodeNEXT … Eventually
Office pool projections start at spring of 2018
It's that time of year when city business begins to work its way around the holidays, and City Council is no different. A special-called meeting Tuesday afternoon officially confirmed the results of the municipal part of the Nov. 8 election, and the scheduled Dec. 13 run-off for District 10, where incumbent Council Member Sheri Gallo (just shy of a first-round victory at 48% among four candidates) will be challenged by Alison Alter (36%), in what looks like an unofficial referendum on the Grove at Shoal Creek planned unit development. The next regular Council meeting takes place Dec. 1, with an already posted agenda of 57 Items that doesn't yet feature any offerings from council members – expect that to change.
Meanwhile, last week Council hosted a special-called joint meeting with the CodeNEXT Advisory Group, for a staff update on where things stand concerning the CAG's Land Use Code revisions and a projection of the schedule over the next year – pointing to an adoption of a new code in the spring of 2018. If you were holding your breath in anticipation – exhale and take up another hobby.
The meeting itself was administrative and procedural, with a preview of the likely dates of various upcoming stages, and the minor revelation that the process should produce an actual map of the land code effects for the entire city (perhaps with some fancy online tools), as soon as this coming April. You can see a calendar of the entire schedule (CAG, boards and commissions, public meetings, and Council) on the Council Nov. 16 meeting page, and here are a few summary highlights:
• Through Jan. 2017: One or two additional joint sessions for Council and CAG
• Feb.-Aug.: Draft development, various levels of public outreach/response
• June: CAG report/handoff to Planning and Zoning & Platting Commissions
• Sept.-Oct.: Board and Commission public hearings, deliberations
• Dec. 2017-April 2018: Council public hearings, deliberations, adoption
This being Austin, and this being the highly contentious Land Use Code, the timeline is tentative and subject to revision at any time. Suffice it to say Council and the public will be debating this subject through at least the next year.
A few additional matters of note for December: The special-called meeting to discuss the Grove PUD is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 6 (the only action item, and coincident with or following that morning's work session), followed by a regular meeting Dec. 8 (to consider many postponed zoning cases) and another Dec. 15 (featuring the return of the almost equally contentious Austin Oaks PUD).
The posted agenda for the Dec. 1 meeting reflects a few more Items of interest:
• A supplemental construction contract for new Central Library (only $5.5 million, but providing an occasion for more dais finger-waving).
• A revision of the city personnel policies on discrimination and harassment (the legislative outcome of the notorious "Women Leading in Local Government" training session last March).
• The oft-postponed appeal by neighbors of the Scoot Inn outdoor music venue permit (bearing another postponement request from those neighbors, likely to Dec. 15).
In another notable postponement: the invocation was to be delivered by Jeremy Galloway of Austin's Satanic Temple – something of a local breakthrough in non-sectarianism – but Galloway had to cancel for now, so any fire and brimstone from the dais or the public will have to wait.